Outfielder Dexter Fowler remains a free agent.
That would be more striking in early January for a quality free agent like Fowler if not for the strange, crowded, slow-developing outfield market. Fowler is far from alone, with all of Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, and Denard Span, among others, still unsigned.
For his part, Fowler continues to work out and stay in shape, and he’s going to find a job eventually. A couple weeks ago, there were still come rumors/contortions that had Fowler as a possibility to return to the Cubs – if the team moved Jorge Soler in a trade, slid Jason Heyward back to right field, then there would be a need in center – and if Fowler’s market completely collapsed into borderline nothing, and if the Cubs were already predisposed to wanting to move Soler, then sure. Maybe.
In general, though, I don’t see it. (And, to be honest, I would really like to see the Cubs give Soler another full year in right in 2016 – it just feels like he’s on the verge of exploding.)
To that end, Andrew Baggarly noticed that Fowler was in the Bay Area last night, taking in a Warriors game. Coincidence? It’s certainly possible. But given the need, the time of year, the previous rumors connecting him to the Giants, it’s a fair bet that Fowler may have been in town for more than a basketball game.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this, as Fowler’s movements this offseason could impact the Cubs in a variety of ways: (1) his signing nets them a draft pick, (2) his signing could shuffle up the outfield market (and the Cubs could still be looking for, at least, a complementary outfielder), and (3) if he goes to an NL contender like the Giants, it could further toughen up the Wild Card race.